Published on April 18th, 2012 | by Wild Gender0
Trans Couple Investigated over Bomb Threats because of Bathroom Incident?
PITTSBURG, Penn.– The trans couple under investigation for making bomb threats against the University of Pittsburg were themselves threatened last week with contempt charges before a grand jury when the two demanded to see a warrant before providing subpoenaed handwriting samples and fingerprints.
Seamus Johnston and his wife, Katherine Anne McCloskey learned last Wednesday they were being investigated over the threats, which were made nearly 100 times since February and have forced several evacuations since Feb. 13.
“We didn’t do it,” McCloskey told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We had nothing whatsoever to do with the bomb threats. We think they’re despicable. We think the person or persons who did them need to be caught.”
Mr. Johnston and Ms. McCloskey made separate appearances in court last Tuesday and demanded to see warrants. They were threatened with contempt charges and requested to speak at length to the panel that could indict the two with charges.
Seven hours after they arrived at the U.S. Courthouse, they said they reached an agreement that includes a hearing April 27 before U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer.
According to the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, Mr. Johnston said his experience before the prosecution was “designed just to make me look uncooperative.”
Reasons for suspicion around the trans couple are fuzzy, but are likely linked to a Dec. 2 case against Johnston, charged by the University with disorderly conduct for “trespassing” in a men’s locker room.
In December, the university found Johnston guilty of disorderly conduct, failure to obey a locker room ban and trespassing in the men’s locker room. A typical penalty for “trespassing” from the university could include one year of probation, which would have banned Johnston from extracurricular activities, all men’s facilities, and require him to undergo counseling. Johnston said he would appeal any sanction.
“I hope that I’ll be allowed to go back to being treated like a normal student instead of a freak,” Johnston told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Because Johnston was attending a weight training course at the school, access to the weight training facility was restricted to entrance through either the men’s or women’s locker room. Because of his gender identity and expression, Johnston was most comfortable using the men’s locker room. He had been enrolled in the class for nearly one full year before University officials told him on Sept. 9 he could no longer use the men’s facility because of students’ complaints, and offered him the use of the private shower.
After the incident, campus police filed two additional citations, charging him with disorderly conduct. Johnston faced a hearing before a Cambria County district judge Dec. 21. He plans to file charges through a district judge against several university employees, including campus police, for citing him.
Last Monday, Mr. Johnston filed a formal complaint with the City of Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations against the university regarding the incident.
“I wasn’t involved in any of these bomb threats. Personally, I feel the fact they continue to investigate me is nothing short of retaliatory on the university’s part,” Johnston told the Post-Gazette in a separate article. “I feel they are wasting valuable resources in finding whoever is responsible for threatening the safety of my friends at main campus.”